We all know that the situation with P.J. Hairston’s rental car has been an absolute avalanche of bad publicity for the University of North Carolina, but to this point, they’ve hidden behind a wall of prudence by refusing to release statements. Wanting to abstain from jumping the gun before all the details are laid out, there’s been very little word out of UNC officials, in spite of the maelstrom of media attention swirling around their star forward’s obviously bad decisions. Apparently, enough’s enough for Roy Williams, who released this statement earlier today:
I initially decided not to make a statement about P.J. (Hairston) until the legal process had been finalized. I believe that is the fair way that everyone should be treated and is the way of our country.
P.J. and I have had several discussions already and he knows he has made serious mistakes and there will be serious consequences as a result. Certainly the idea of suspending P.J. has been discussed. However, he is not currently enrolled in summer school, is not practicing with the team and we have no games until November. There are several options available in terms of discipline, but we are going to wait until the process is complete to decide on those options.
Other issues have been written about recently that are disturbing and bother me deeply. Our basketball program is based on great ideals, and these issues are embarrassing. These are not common in my 10 years as head coach at UNC, and they will all be dealt with harshly and appropriately at the correct time to ensure that our program will not be compromised.
We will care about each individual, but there will be serious actions taken that will fix these issues. I take pride in our values and how we have conducted ourselves for a long time here at Carolina, and this time will pass, but it will be dealt with strongly.
We are talking about a program that has been a model of success on and off the court, and it will be again. I want to thank our fans for their patience, understanding and support.
Nobody with any sense of sportsmanship is happy that Hairston messed up, but the silence out of Chapel Hill as the school’s reputation kept taking hits was deafening. And while there’s still a taste of “wait and see” in this statement, there’s a heavier dose of condemnation, too. So now that Ol’ Roy’s promised a stern approach, what do you think? Will he follow through with it, or just give Hairston the minimum, “slap on the wrist” punishment? Or is it too little, too late, after the damage has already been done?
Either way, at this point it’s hard to tell whether Hairston will be available for Kentucky’s game at the Dean Dome on December 14th. Do you want him to play so Carolina fans can’t pull the “You didn’t play us at full strength” card? Or would you rather he sit out because… justice?